Davis delays MTBE ban until Jan. 1, 2004

RFA Calls the governor's decision a ‘mistake' CRFP says Davis ignored advice of environmental groups state agencies, oil industry
By | March 01, 2002
Oil and ethanol industry leaders both expressed frustration and dismay March 15, when California Gov. Gray Davis delayed the deadline for removing MTBE from California's gasoline supply until January 1, 2004, a year later than planned.

Governor Davis' about-face on the MTBE phase-out schedule is completely unjustified and places political expediency ahead of safe drinking water," said RFA leader Bob Dinneen. "Today's decision represents a callous breach of faith with California consumers that want MTBE out of their drinking water now, gasoline refiners and marketers that have invested to meet the original deadline and farmers across the country that have added more than a billion gallons of ethanol capacity to enable the timely transition away from MTBE."

The California Renewable Fuels Partnership expressed "extreme disappointment" in the governor's decision, saying Davis "short-circuited" the official agency process to delay the MTBE ban.

"Public opinion across the state is clear in wanting an immediate MTBE ban," said CRFP Director Neil Koehler. "The Governor ignored the advice of the Association of California Water Agencies, other state agencies, the oil industry and numerous environmental groups. But most disappointing, Governor Davis used political speak to hide behind his decision."

The governor's reasoning"We do not need to import 900 million gallons of ethanol to put in every gallon of gasoline in this state in order to be in compliance with the Clean Air Act," Davis said at a press conference in Los Angeles where he announced his controversial decision. "All we need is 250 or 275 million gallons of ethanol, which we already do and are prepared to do in the future."

Despite numerous reassurances from ethnaol producers, refiners, terminal providers and transportation providers, Davis said he did not believe enough ethanol and other fuel blending components could be delivered to meet California's market needs by 2003.